Carolina's Bryan Bickell diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

General manager Ron Francis announced the diagnosis Friday.

Bickell said in a statement issued by the team that ''during the past few weeks, it felt like something wasn't right,'' and that he's ''been struggling to understand what was going on with my body'' since the 2015 playoffs with Chicago.

Francis says the 30-year-old player will take some time to rest from the disease that attacks the nervous system. Bickell says he hopes to keep playing.

Carolina acquired Bickell in a trade with the Blackhawks during the summer.

''He's a special guy. We're thinking about him, and our thoughts and prayers are with him,'' Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ''It's tough to hear something like that. He has a tough road ahead. He was special for us, and instrumental in us having a lot of success here. We wish him well.''

The three-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago has one goal in seven games with the Hurricanes, but hasn't played since Oct. 30. He was scratched from a loss to Anaheim on Thursday night with what the team described as an illness.

''It's pretty shocking. What can you say?'' Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after Friday night's 3-2 loss to Washington. ''I think everyone in this room, in this organization, as close as we all are to Bicks, our hearts go out to him. We wish him the best health possible. Hopefully he can hang in there and find ways to stay strong despite his condition.''

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